LOS ANGELES On April 28, 2011, the Los Angeles Lakers beat the New Orleans Hornets 98-80 to win their opening-round playoff series 4-2. That was the last time Kobe Bryant and his mates won a basketball game of any kind.
Until Tuesday night.
It seemed like an eternity, but it actually took just 243 days for the Lakers' next victory as they gave Mike Brown his first win as head coach, throttling Utah 96-71 behind Bryant's 26 points. Pau Gasol, playing with a sore left shoulder but extremely aggressive, added 22 points (10 from the free throw line) and nine rebounds, while Metta World Peace had 14 points and five rebounds in 27 minutes.
The Jazz (0-1) were playing an older team that was in the final game of a season-opening back-to-back-to-back set, and was missing suspended center Andrew Bynum (out for one more game). Yet the youngsters were outplayed and outhustled by the vets, scoring just 46 points through three quarters. Forward Paul Millsap, battling severe tendinitis in his...